Genesis is the key to understanding. It is in their respective, and widely different, stories of birth and emergence that we find the key to understanding the new courses of Khrushchev and Gorbachev.
Khrushchev’s failed attempt at reform grew out of a legitimation crisis and the crisis of the empire. Gorbachev’s “drive for change,” an extremely incomplete story as yet, has been emerging out of an economic crisis, a crisis of the ruling stratum with wide sociological implications, as well as a demographic crisis that has equally far-reaching implications for the regime’s social policy.
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